OKLAHOMA (KFOR) – KFOR recently asked for your nominations for Oklahoma’s most remarkable women, and the stories of incredible women came pouring in! It was a tough job, but our 2023 Remarkable Women committee has whittled down the nominations to four finalists. This is the story of our third finalist – a survivor of domestic violence, who now uses her own experience to help others enduring the devastation of domestic violence.
“It was back in 1998. I was in high school,” said Heidi Oliver. She was just a 18, with a new baby in her arms. “I was actually abused the entire time I was pregnant.”
“After the abuse continued when the baby was born, I knew that I had to get out. And so, she was two months old, and I decided that I had to leave.”
When a young acquaintance named Zach, heard about Heidi’s ordeal, a fairytale romance was about to begin.
“He actually showed up pretty much on my doorstep and said, ‘I will love you from this day forward, forever and ever, and I will love your child and your baby, and I will take care of both of you, and I will protect you,'” Heidi said.
Heidi went on to graduate high school and married Zach, who adopted little Kailey.
“With me taking the steps to adopt her, I knew I could protect her from ever having to see him again, and there was no fight there,” Zach said of Kailey’s adoption.
Kailey is now 24-years-old.
Over the years, Zach and Heidi added two more daughters to their happy family, Kelsey and Kinsey.
Heidi’s life took a drastic turn for the better when she bravely decided to leave the abuse.
“There’s hope and there’s a future after. You are loved, and you are valued, and you are worth more than having to put up with someone abusing you,” she said.
Heidi now volunteers on the board of trustees for Cardinal Point in Canadian County – a one-stop shop where survivors can find immediate help.
Cardinal Point helps abuse victims in Canadian County with services, such as acquiring emergency restraining orders, legal assistance, and access to counseling, food, clothing, shelter and health services.
“When somebody walks through the door here, they are greeted with a friendly, supportive face,” said Cardinal Point CEO Kristie Chandler.
Kristie says Cardinal Point and its partners offer complete support in a confidential and safe environment, with locked doors and law enforcement present on site.
“There is a way out, there’s light on the other side, there is hope. And we offer that to women who are in the thick of it right now, and men too,” Kristie said.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women – and one in seven men – are victims of domestic violence.
“It’s so hard and you become so broken,” Heidi said, describing her experience.
But those marks that once covered Heidi’s face led her to create her own mark – showing others like her that life truly can be remarkable.
“You can have a beautiful story, from the biggest tragedy and the biggest mess. I mean, you really can,” Heidi said.
Click here to see the stories of our other 2023 Remarkable Women finalists.
KFOR will feature the fourth and final 2023 Remarkable Women finalist on Wednesday, March 29th during our 6 p.m. broadcast, at which time the winner will also be announced. She will receive $1,000 for the charity of her choice, and will then represent Oklahoma in the national competition. Stay tuned!